As both a writer and photographer for the past three years for multiple publications, I spent time watching games from perspectives few get to see. Most of my memories of games, with a few exceptions, come from being close on the field or with a giant Plexiglas window in front of me.
Now in my senior year, I no longer have the same responsibilities I had before. Without that, I can watch the game *gasp* like a fan.
I did get to learn my watching preferences while covering the team, though. So as someone who has watched from both perspectives, here are my likes (and dislikes) of being in the press box.
Not Being Able to Actually Hear the Game
Watching from the press box, things are obviously quiet because it’s a working environment. The thing I always hated was the need to put reporters in a glass box.
My favorite part of covering the game is feeling the atmosphere, because that can you help capture emotion in written form or a picture. Sitting up there, you could barely hear anything outside except the loudest sounds.
When I covered FAU playing at Ben Hill Griffin in 2015 against the Florida Gators, that changed the way I viewed games. Watching from an open air press box like they have gives you the benefit of really hearing how the game goes. You could hear FAU’s band and fans despite them being so far away, and it made me feel closer to the game.
Beer is Good
For the sake of professionalism, it is not a good idea to drink heavily in a press box. Very few events will still offer that type of free drink (especially in college) but there are still a few sports that do.
As a writer, unless you are in the comfort of your own home, you need to be sharp. Alcohol does not help you follow a bad quote by the head coach or complete a piece on deadline.
It’s nice to be able to hang with non-reporter friends and have a drink or two. They usually don’t understand how much goes into writing, so to be able to just avoid that conversation and keep it simple makes it nice.
Press Conferences are Hit or Miss
As much as I would like to interview Lane Kiffin after his first games, those types of press briefings after a game are a bit of a necessary evil. Serving as a chance to react to a moment, they can help bring extra insight to a moment.
My problem was the amount of cliches you would come across as you interviewed players. Obviously it is tough minutes after a game to answer a barrage of questions, but sometimes it feels like you’ll never get what you need.
Not having to get that adrenaline rush as you fill in the gaps of your story is going to stink, but I’m happy I got to experience it in the first place and make myself a better writer.
It will be strange not rushing to upload photos or string together a story. But with all I watched, it has made me a better observer of the game, and for that I am thankful.